Harry Potter and the
by: J.K. Rowling
Review by: Tina
begin this review, I have a confession of sorts. I had no
intentions of reading this book. You see, I'm not the
type of person who follows a crowd. The more hype that
surrounded the series, the less I wanted to read any of
it. However, my eight-year-old daughter asked to see the
movie. Then she begged. Then she pleaded. What can I say?
I surrendered and took her.
The movie surprised me. The characters were entertaining
and the plot well developed. So after many of my fantasy
reading friends assured me that the novel was worth
reading, I gave in to pressure and read it. Within the
week, I'd finished all four novels.
The series develops nicely and the writing flows smoothly
but reading all four novels in a week was no easy task. I
lost a lot of sleep that week, but I enjoyed every minute
Ms. Rowling really does not need me to give her another
glowing review of her books. They're selling quite well
without my help. There's a reason for her success. The
characters are likeable. Harry, Hermoine and Ron grow
with each novel. Something that has some fans feeling
left behind, but as a writer, I think the progression is
logical and well thought out.
There are a few things I would like to point out that
aren't so complimentary. To her legions of fans, please
do not send me hate mail. The purpose of a literary
review is to find flaws (and virtues) in an established
story so that we might grow as writers by learning from
Perhaps the biggest issue most writers will have with The
Sorcerer's Stone is the amount of 'passive voice'. In
workshops, writing classes and magazine articles, we are
constantly being warned not to used 'passive voice' and
how we will never get a publisher to consider our work if
it's not 'active'. While The Sorcerer's Stone has
sold very well despite the heavy use of 'passive voice'
it is not the standard by which most new writers are
judged. Ms. Rowling manages to pull the reader into the
story quickly and the passive sentences aren't very
Most of the problems I found in the book were in the plot
When the letters from Hogwarts arrive at the Dursley's
house, Harry repeatedly makes the mistake of allowing his
aunt and uncle to catch him trying to read one. At eleven-years-old
and having lived with the Dursleys all his life, I found
it hard to believe that Harry wouldn't have been a bit
quieter and sneaker about obtaining and reading one of
Once Hagrid delivers the letter and discovers Harry is
ignorant to his wizard background, he still leaves Harry
to fend for himself without any explanations. Harry must
find his way to platform 9 3/4 without any help. He runs
into the Weasley family quite by accident, which is a bit
too much of a coincidence for this reader.
Throughout the book, Dumbledore is built up to be a very
powerful wizard in the magic community. Yet he plays a
very small part in the movie which is inconsistent with
the way his character is regarded by the other wizards
and students. He also allows Harry a lot of free reign
for an eleven-year-old, untrained and uneducated wizard.
Harry is permitted to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas and
spring holidays but not over the summer. Knowing how the
Dursleys treat him and the fact that they are so adamant
about not allowing Harry to know his heritage, it doesn't
follow that Dumbledore would return Harry to them. Not
even in an attempt to keep Harry's ego from becoming over
inflated by his celebrity status in the wizard community.
Which leads me to my final nit. A slight problem with the
world building in the story. Throughout the novel, there
is never any mention of Christianity, God or the Bible.
There are references to Pagan ideas, philosophies and
holidays. In my opinion, it would have been more
consistent for the school to observe Yule or Winter
Solstice instead of Christmas.
Over all the flaws are minor. The story is very enjoyable
to read. It's not a literary great, but it's a lot of fun.
It's something to consider as writers. Are you trying to
create the next literary masterpiece? Become the next
Hemmingway? Or do you want to write something a lot of
people will enjoy and talk about, like the latest Stephen
J.K. Rowling creates a delightful world with intrigue,
believable characters and fascinating creatures. Her
style improves with each novel. Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone is well worth reading.
You can find her books at Amazon.com
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone fully
earns it's * * * * *. rating.
* * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* = Slow, difficult to read, could have been
* = Imminently